The Whitecaps (39-28) finished in second place in the Eastern Division first-half standings and earned a wild card berth for the Midwest League playoffs in September. South Bend won the division title. West Michigan and South Bend will meet in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Sept. 7.
West Michigan will begin the second half of the schedule on Thursday, beginning another four-game series in Lansing.
The Lugnuts took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning on Sunday when reliever Starlyn Suriel walked West Michigan’s David Gonzalez with one out. Lansing went to the bullpen to summon left-hander Daniel Young to pitch to the left-handed Will Maddox, who made Young pay by launching his first professional home run over the high right-field wall to tie the game at three.
In the bottom of the inning, an RBI triple by Ryan Metzler scored Carl Wise. allowing the Lugnuts to reclaim the lead at 4-3. In the ninth, the ‘Caps were down to their final strike until Jose Zambrano doubled into the right-field corner with two outs and Cam Gibson delivered a run-scoring single to tie the game once again.
In the Nuts’ half of the frame, West Michigan All-Star closer Gerson Moreno worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam by striking out Juan Kelly to force extra innings.
In the eleventh, Lansing catcher Ryan Hissey lofted a game-winning RBI-double to right-center field to score Jake Thomas and win the game 5-4.